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ACTION ALERT: Support the Geosciences Without Leaving Home

(Posted 8-4-03)


This update was originally sent out as an e-mail message to AGI's member societies.

With the tough economy and war on terrorism at home and abroad, federal science agencies are fighting proposals for tight funding next year. More than ever, the geoscience community needs to make a strong case to Congress on the value of these programs.

This past spring, the 8th Annual Science-Engineering-Technology Congressional Visits Day (CVD) brought scientists and engineers to Capitol Hill to visit Members of Congress and their staff right at the start of the congressional budget cycle. Now that Congress is about halfway through their budget process for the year, it's time to visit your elected officials again. In August, both the House and Senate spend the entire month in recess so that the members can be in their districts visiting with constituents and attending local events. This is a great opportunity to schedule an appointment with your Representative or Senator in their local office to voice your support for increased federal investment in science and technology.

Participants in the August District Visit Days are asked to carry forward a core message that broad federal funding for research promotes the nation's security, prosperity, and the innovation of new ideas. In addition, participants can advance their own messages about programs that they see as valuable examples of the federal science and technology enterprise emphasizing, for example, the value of the geosciences to society. It is vital for geoscientists to be represented in science-community efforts if our discipline is to be a recognizable (and valued) element in the congressional view of "science." For anyone interested in science policy, this is an opportunity to meet your elected official and have your voice heard without having to travel.

If you have participated in CVD previously, this is a chance to continue building a relationship with your Members of Congress. If not, there is no better time than the month of August when representatives and senators are less rushed and at home to sit down and talk about funding priorities that are important to you and the larger science, engineering and technology community.

To make arrangements for an August visit, contact your Member of Congress' local district office (contact info in your local phone book or through http://www.house.gov) and ask to speak with the District Scheduler. Inquire about the Member's August schedule and see if there would be an appropriate time and place where you could meet for approximately 15-20 minutes to discuss federal science funding. Your meeting may be before or after a Town Hall Meeting, during a county fair or on a day that the Member has set aside to visit a particular county and meet with folks about various issues. Whatever the situation, the experience is sure to be memorable for you both. You may also want to consider attending this meeting as a group with your colleagues or even inviting the Member to tour your campus, agency or business.

The District Scheduler may ask you fax or e-mail a formal meeting request with a list of issues you would like to discuss. More information about CVD and the core message is available on the CVD website at http://www.aas.org/cvd/. The site contains a downloadable packet of briefing materials to update you on the need for sustained federal investment in science research, help orchestrate your visit and familiarize you with the legislative process. AGI has a number of articles and updates on its Government Affairs website (http://www.agiweb.org/gap) that can provide background and context for some of the issues you may want to discuss.

If you have any questions or would like our assistance in setting up a visit, call Emily M. Lehr in AGI's Government Affairs Program at (703) 379-2480 x. 212 or e-mail her at eml@agiweb.org.

CVD is organized by the Science-Engineering-Technology Work Group (of which AGI is a member).


Alert prepared by Emily M. Lehr, AGI Government Affairs Program

Please send any comments or requests for information to the AGI Government Affairs Program.

Posted August 4, 2003